Born on April 22, 1936 in Crescentino, Province of Vercelli, Italy, Fiorenza Cossotto attended the Turin Academy of Music and graduated top of her class. After her studies with Mercedes Llopart, she made her operatic debut as Sister Matilde in the world premiere of Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957 at La Scala in Milan. Her international debut was at the 1958 Wexford Festival as Giovanna Seymour in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. Her Covent Garden debut was in 1959 as Neris in Cherubini's Médée, with Maria Callas in the title role. A 1962 performance of the lead in La favorita at La Scala led to wider fame and she made her American debut in the same role in 1964 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Amneris at the Metropolitan Opera in 1968.
She was considered an expert in portrayals of major mezzo/contralto roles in mid-19th-century Italian opera; e.g. Favorita, Amneris, Azucena, Eboli, Preziosilla, Maddalena, Ulrica and Laura. She also essayed Carmen, Mozart's Cherubino, Urbain in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, Bellini's Romeo and Marfa in Khovantschina.
In 2005 she celebrated her 70th birthday with a performance of Suor Angelica at the Théâtre Royal in Liège, Belgium.
She was married to the Italian bass Ivo Vinco for over 40 years (ending in divorce). Their only child was a son, Roberto.
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Cossotto and Vinco at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1964 - [Opening Night] Trovatore (Vinco - American Debut) with Ligabue, Corelli, Zanasi, Bumbry; Bartoletti
Favorita (Both - Her American Debut) with Kraus, Bruscantini; Cillario
Don Carlo (Cossotto) with Gencer, Tucker, Gobbi, Ghiaurov, Marangoni, Michalski; Bartoletti
1965 - Aïda (Both) with Price/Lee, Lamberti, Bastianini/Colzani, Cillario
Rigoletto (Vinco) with MacNeil/Bruscantini, Scotto, Kraus, Cassei; Bartoletti
1966 - Gioconda (Both) with Suliotis, Cioni, Guelfi, Zilio; Sanzogno
1968 - Norma (Both) with Suliotis, Cecchele; Sanzogno
1969 - Cavalleria Rusticana (Cossotto) with Tagliavini, Guelfi, Krebill, Garabedian-George; Bartoletti
Barber of Seville (Vinco) with Horne, Bruscantini, Garaventa, Evans, Curry; Pritchard, Gobbi
1971 - Rigoletto (Vinco) with Cappuccilli, Robinson, Kraus, Zanibelli; Bartoletti
Don Carlo (Cossotto) with Lorengar, Cossutta, Milnes, Ghiaurov, Sotin, Estes; Bartoletti, Mansouri
1974 - Favorita (Both) with Kraus, Cappuccilli, Zilio; Rescigno
1983 - [Opening Night] Aïda (Cossotto) with Tomowa-Sintow, Pavarotti/Giacomini, Wixell, Giaotti, Kavrakos, Negrini; Bartoletti, Tallchief
1986-87 - Ballo in Maschera (Both) with Chiara, Pavarotti/Sebastian, Cappuccilli, Blackwell, Kaasch; Bartoletti, Frisell, Conklin
1992-93 - Ballo in Maschera (Cossotto) with Voigt, Jóhannsson, Chernov, Blackwell; Buckley, Frisell, Conklin
© 1983 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded backstage at the Civic Opera House in Chicago on September 29, 1983. Portions were broadcast on WNIB 1995, 1997, and 2000. A portion was included in a brief article I wrote for the April 1985 issue of the WNIB Program Guide. My thanks for Marina Vecci for providing the translation during the conversation. This transcription was made in 2015, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.